The Trouble with Bustles: Victorian Fashion in the 19th Century News – Mimi Matthews

Source: The Trouble with Bustles: Victorian Fashion in the 19th Century News – Mimi Matthews

Extreme fashions have always incited a fair amount of criticism and ridicule. During the 1870s and 1880s, this criticism was primarily reserved for the bustle.  Bustles were routinely satirized in magazines like Punch and featured as the subject of countless humorous—and not so humorous—newspaper articles.  Below are just a few of the many interesting bustle stories from the 19th century news, from an exploding bustle during a reading by author Charles Dickens to a bulk of bustles cast into the sea.

CHARLES DICKENS AND THE EXPLODING BUSTLE

On an evening in September of 1888, famed Victorian author Charles Dickens was giving a reading at the First Congregational Church in the city of San Francisco.  Multiple British newspapers report the story of a fashionable…

Source: The Trouble with Bustles: Victorian Fashion in the 19th Century News – Mimi Matthews

Pilfering the Male Wardrobe: The Gibson Girl’s Retort to Fashion Satire | MCNY Blog: New York Stories

Originally posted on MCNY Blog: New York Stories.

Capricious, evanescent, outrageous: there has always been something to parody about fashion. It has had its moments of sanity, where form has actually nodded to function, but centuries-worth of acrid illustration captures its erratic permutations. Political satirists throughout the 18th and 19th centuries frequently targeted fashion’s absurdities – ballooning sleeves, wasp-like waists, meandering hemlines – as tantalizing subject matter for ridicule.

Currier & Ives, Thomas Worth (1834-1917), “The Grecian Bend” Fifth Avenue Style, 1868, Hand-colored lithograph. Gift of Mrs. Harry T. Peters, 56.300.1282

A deliciously obvious phenomenon was fashion’s “Grecian Bend” of 1868, itself a caricature with its forward-hunching posture (paraphrasing that of a tyrannosaurus) caused while attempting to counter-balance the backward thrust of an outrageously pronounced bustle and weighty mounded coiffure – made all-the-more comical while tottering along on the day’s tiny high-heeled shoes and balancing a miniature sunshade from tightly gloved hands. The conspicuous presence of the “Grecian Bend” along the main corridors of New York City’s fashionable shopping district (subsequently known as “The Ladies’ Mile,” and featured in the City Museum’s exhibition Gilded New York) prompted Thomas Worth’s sketch for lithographers Currier & Ives, typically known for their picturesque landscapes and sentimental visions of Americana. Their widely distributed “The Grecian Bend, Fifth Avenue Style” constituted a satirical sidebar for the firm, becoming the best known of their fashion commentaries.

The absurdity of the print’s imagery resonated throughout the day’s popular culture, inspiring the…

via Pilfering the Male Wardrobe: The Gibson Girl’s Retort to Fashion Satire | MCNY Blog: New York Stories.